The ownership of Skybox Grill, the restaurant located inside St. Albert's Servus Place recreation centre, says the decision to rescind a reservation made by Take Back Alberta for a Christmas party next week was made to ensure the restaurant's neutrality, and not a decision made through political bias.
“Our establishment does not endorse or condemn any political group; we maintain a neutral stance to ensure inclusivity,” the restaurant posted online in response to a number of negative reviews that are being left on the business's Google Reviews page on Thursday.
“Recent decisions, such as not accommodating a specific political group, were made solely to prevent potential conflicts within our diverse customer base. This decision does not reflect any political bias on our part.”
Take Back Alberta, the conservative political group founded by David Parker, had planned to host a Christmas party at the restaurant on Dec. 13, and the event was being advertised online as a way to “celebrate our successes.”
Among other things, Parker has claimed that it was Take Back Alberta's achievement that former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stepped down as leader of the governing United Conservative Party, which cleared the way for now-Premier Danielle Smith to become the party's new leader.
Former Olympic figure skater Jamie Salé, who in recent years has made headlines for spreading COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories, was also supposed to be in attendance, according to a poster made for the event which has been shared on social media.
On Dec. 6, the City of St. Albert posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the Skybox Grill had rescinded the group's reservation, which was in the restaurant's “right in alignment with their lease agreement.”
Earlier this week, Servus Credit Union, the recreation centre's namesake, responded to multiple X user's concerns about Take Back Alberta having an event at the restaurant by saying that Servus is “not involved in the day-to-day operations of the St. Albert recreation centre, including bookings at the facility.”
“In partnering with the City of St. Albert, we hope to provide a facility where residents can access resources and amenities to pursue healthy, active living.”
In an email, City spokesperson Cory Sinclair told the Gazette that the city is not involved with the Skybox Grill's operations as the restaurant simply leases the space from the city, and is therefore allowed to make and deny reservations as the operators see fit.
“The viewpoints of a private group utilizing services offered by a leaseholder at Servus Place do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the City of St. Albert or the leaseholder,” Sinclair said. “The City respects the decisions of our leaseholders as long as they are compliant with the terms and conditions of the agreement.”
In response to the Dec. 6 announcement that Take Back Alberta's reservation was cancelled, Parker posted on X: “I guess the City of St. Albert just decided they want a new municipal government.”
On Dec. 7, Parker then posted on X encouraging followers to post negative reviews about the Skybox Grill to “send a message to the City of St. Albert and the bigoted business owner who decided to cancel a Christmas party because the woke mob scared him.”
The Gazette has yet to receive a response to attempts to speak with the Skybox Grill ownership, as well as Parker.